Placed in Top-5, Baisoya, Sharma and Cheema lead a strong home challenge at Hero Indian Open -

Placed in Top-5, Baisoya, Sharma and Cheema lead a strong home challenge at Hero Indian Open

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Honey Baisoya.

Khel Today Bureau 

Gurugram: The host nation was well represented on the leaderboard on the opening day of the US$ 2 million Hero Indian Open 2023with as many as six Indians finding a place in the top-15 at the DLF Golf and Country Club on Thursday.

DLF golfer Honey Baisoya held the clubhouse lead for much of the day with a six-under-par 66 before losing it to the late-charging German Yannik Paul (65), who seemed to continue from where he let off last week where he finished second.

Baisoya was closely followed by Shubhankar Sharma and Angad Cheema on 4-under 68 that gave them a share of fourth place.

Shubhankar Sharma.

Veteran M, Dharma and 2022 PGTI Order of Merit topper Manu Gandas, another DLF golfer, shared eighth place on two under 70 along with Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (17 holes), who was among a small group of players who could not complete the first round due to fading light.

Angad Cheema.

Sharma dropped two shots early after starting on the back nine but made up well towards the end of his round with three birdies over his final four holes including a solid recovery on the ninth where he drove the ball wide but chipped on beautifully before converting the opportunity.

“On nine, I actually missed my drive and went almost 50-60 yards left. And then from the rough, I had a good shot to about 20 feet.”

“My putting was quite average to begin with. Like I wasn’t doing anything great, but I wasn’t doing anything bad either. And then on the front nine, which was my closing nine I think I was more focused. I just wanted to shoot a good score. So gave myself a few opportunities.”

“I was quite straight off the tee, on most occasions, except for maybe one place where I went slightly left on hole six, but I managed to make a good up and down there. I think my putting became slightly better on this nine, which helps. It’s a long tournament. So we’ll see what happens.”

Honey Baisoya said playing at the host venue was a big plus for him. “One reason why so many of us (himself, Sharma, Manu Gandas to name a few) are going well today is because we play here a lot. The last time I played was before I left to play outside. That was about a month ago. (When I am in India) I come here every day.”

Angad Cheema, tied fourth alongside Sharma, said later, “I didn’t play well on the back nine. But then got it going on the front nine. I was hitting it close consistently and that helped set up the (five)birdies there.”

Khalin Joshi (18 holes) and Yashas Chandra (17 holes) were level par for the day with Aadil Bedi, Abhijit Singh Chadha, Ajeetesh Sandhu and Veer Ahlawat were all bunched together in tied 34th place on one-over73s.

Shiv Shankar Prasad Chawrasia and Jyoti Randhawa, who have won the Hero Indian Open five times between them were further down the standings, Chawrasia was in tied 60th alongside Gaganjeet Bhullar on three-over 75 and Randhawa one shot behind in tied 78th.

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